City Council leader to address councillors on recovery plan to keep Government at bay

Loxley House, headquarters of Nottingham City Council.
By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter

The leader of Nottingham City Council will address councillors on how its recovery plan is progressing as the authority tries to make £38m of savings over the next four years.

The Labour-run authority is currently being monitored by a Government-appointed board and must show by March 2022 that it has achieved ‘financial resilience’.

It comes after the demise of Robin Hood Energy, a failed energy company set up by the council which lost taxpayers an anticipated £38m when it went into administration in January 2020.

The government-appointed Improvement and Assurance Board has been set up to ensure the council creates a culture change as well as a balanced budget.

If it fails to show its recovery plan is working, then Government commissioners could be called in to run the local authority in the future.

The council has already proposed £12.2m of savings for next year, which includes controversial plans to close six children’s centres and reduce its workforce by 91 full time posts – 23 of which are currently vacant.

But it still needs to find £15.7m of savings next year – with £38m in total over the next four years.

The council has blamed a rise in the cost of running adult and children social care services – taking up a combined £155m of the council’s £240m overall budget – and a reduction in government grants for some of the hard decisions it will have to make.

Cllr David Mellen (Lab), leader of the city council, will address councillors on the recovery plan’s progress on January 5 at an overview and scrutiny committee.

Councillors will be asked to make recommendations if appropriate as well as quizzing the leader on the recovery plan.

Last month, the council said it is “on track” to present its full budget plan to a Full Council meeting in March 2022.

But it said it doesn’t receive its financial settlement from Government until December so it is not in a position to finalise its work until that happens.

The settlement has not yet been publicly revealed but in a report prepared for the meeting, the council states: “The provisional settlement has provided more funding than we speculatively projected but insufficient to close the current Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) gaps.

“Further work is underway to identify options for closing the gap and delivering a balanced budget and MTFP. The draft settlement is out for consultation with responses due back by January 13, 2022.

“Based on past experience we can expect confirmation of the Final Settlement around the first week of February 2022.”

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